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 Scarlett Martinez International Airport

This is an airport with a history just as dramatic as it’s flashy name. Located in the small city of Río Hato, Scarlett Martinez International Airport (RIH) dates back to 1931 and was used by the US Air Force in World War Two. Back then it was called Río Hato Army Air Base and used by various units as an extension of Howard Air Force Base. Locals still refer to the airport by this older name, Río Hato. It wasn’t until fairly recently, 2011, that the government of Panama gave the go-ahead to rebuild the airport as a commercial flight center. It was officially opened to regular civilian travel in 2013. Currently, the traffic that passes through RIH is fairly light, easing some of the burden on the international airport in Panama City. Future expansions are planned to handle even more seasonal visitors.

Airlines at Scarlett Martinez International Airport

The airport has only one runway, but that’s plenty of space for the leisure airlines that use the airport for charters, seasonal flights, and regularly scheduled services. If you’re heading to Panama’s Pacific beaches, your airport will likely be RIH especially if you’re flying from Canada.

  • Arrendamientos Aereos is strictly a national charter airline that flies to Panama City. Air Panama, another local company, offers the same services.
  • Sunwing Airlines, usually known for its vacation flights, this airline connects RIH to YYZ in Toronto. The route is used by both expats and tourists, and the service runs throughout the year. In the winter, you can also get flights to and from Montreal, Quebec City, and Bagotville.
  • Air Transat, another Canadian airline known for its holiday packages, Air Transat flies between RIH and both Toronto and Montreal for the full twelve months of the year.

The airport itself is barely one terminal and has very little amenities beyond the essential services. It’s simply a rather small building with two gables that resembles a large family home. There aren’t even public transit or rental cars here, only taxis and shuttles that go to nearby hotels and resorts. Most travellers who use this airport arrive on packaged vacations deals that include airport transfers. The airport is only a few minutes from the nearby Pacific Coast and the small town center.

What to see and do in Río Hato

There’s a good reason that the nearby airport is used extensively by Canadian airlines. Both snowbirds and long-term visitors call this place home, and it’s not just because of the pristine beaches and perfect weather. The region is also quite small, so you can see virtually anything in the country no matter where you’re staying, and tours that include transportation, food, and guides are easy to find. Here are a few suggestions to get you started on your Panamanian adventure.

  • Playa Blanca. Miles of sugary white sand stretch along this scenic Pacific coastline, perfect for lounging, photographs, and watersports. The calm, warm waters are ideal for swimming, boating, horseback riding, and other typical seaside activities like beach volleyball and yoga. Find all the amenities you need for your day at the beach in the nearby town of Farallon.
  • El Valle. Literally, the valley, and it is, but this is also the name of the quaint mountain village you’ll also find in this lush, verdant area. When you need a change of pace from the beach or resort, explore the fertile mountains of the country’s interior. Go on a hike through the impressive tropical foliage or shop for souvenirs and artisan goods in the bustling market.
  • Panamanian liquor. It’s not just the standard Carribean drinks, like rum, that are produced here. The country is famous for creative and exotic drinks made from sugar cane, like Seco Herrerano, and Chicha Fuerte, which is made from fermented corn. Seco Herrerano is renowned for its versatility with mixed drinks, and Chicha Fuerte is made in earthenware pots using a traditional indigenous technique.
Airports near Scarlett Martinez International :

 Location Details

Longitude:80° 4' 26'' W
Latitude:8° 13' 23'' N
IATA code:RIH
ICAO code:MPSM

 Airport Location

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